Over the past few years, wellness has become a dominant trend in the global tourism industry. Many travellers are choosing destinations that will ensure they feel healthier after they’ve checked out. Here’s the Sawubona list of 10 fantastic destinations for a much-needed health and wellness getaway:
1. SINGITA LEBOMBO, KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, SA: Following a total renovation under the careful hand of design gurus Cécile and Boyd, this gorgeous spa redefiines the term ‘spa-fari’. The lodge has a varied treatment menu, with quite a few pampering options on hand. Its signature treatment is called Ndzi Lorhe Afrika (“I Dreamed of Africa”) – an indulgent African body ritual. A full-body exfoliation is followed by a soothing body wrap and ends with the Inkaba balancing full-body massage. The treatment, easing tension with particular attention to the body’s pressure points, utilises monkey oranges (used as a type of calabash) as massage tools.
2. THE SHIBUI SPA, GREENWICH HOTEL, NEW YORK
This Japanese-inspired spa, envisaged by actor Robert DeNiro, offers a superb healing experience in the calming caverns of the city’s most understatedly elegant hotel. The treatments offered involve medicinal heat and four massage modalities. The Royal Thai massage, which is similar to acupuncture, is combined with a Samunprai poultice containing ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime oil and camphor and is ideal for relieving circulatory and digestive ailments. Other treatments include more massage options, facials (like the Harmoniser, which uses Elemental Herbology’s naturally active, botanical and mineral-infused collection of products) and meditation.
3.FOUR SEASONS BEVERLY HILLS, LOS ANGELES
At this hotel the focus is on much more than just a massage or facial. It’s found true healers, like gifted bio-meditation energy therapist Jeannette von Johnsbach, who assesses your state of being before working her magic. The hands-on bio-meditation treatment is gentle, yet profoundly healing and nurtures, detoxifies and balances every cell of your body. Energy blockages are released to help strengthen your innate life force. The experience is dream-like – tapping into the conscious and subconscious – and includes various breathing techniques. The result is not just support of the endocrine, nervous and immune systems, but a quiet, sublime sense of well-being.
Overlooking the ocean, the SHA Wellness Clinic in south-eastern Spain isn’t just a place to come to for pampering – it’s for real wellness and complete transformation of your eating, exercising and sleeping routine. Erika Parrilla, Clinic Operations Manager, says that most clients improve some aspect of their physical health and “reconnect with their inner self”. They’re interested in “achieving spiritual, mental and physical stability, over time” – and maintaining that state. A typical programme at SHA lasts a week and is personalised according to your needs, be it detox, recovery, weight control, fitness or even a total life reset. The schedule could include time with a nutritionist, a genetics specialist, a dermatologist and neurocognitive experts and involve treatments such as ozone therapy, acupuncture, laser acupuncture, moxibustion, cryotherapy and, of course, facials and massages.
5.ARTESIA SPA, OSLO, NORWAY
Oslo has two Artesia hotspots. The first is located inside the Grand Hotel and the other in Majorstuen, a suburb in the western area of the city. The spa offers holistic experiences, encouraging you to disconnect from everything around you and simply connect with yourself under the guidance of the therapists. Treatments include the face (using Elizabeth Arden PRO) and body, with several different types of massage, as well as pedicures and manicures. One of the specialties is the Kalahari Gold Foot Treatment, which consists of a soak in the footbath, a sugar scrub and a deep massage for feet and legs using the spa’s exclusive cream, containing ingredients sourced from Africa.
6. AMANEMU, SHIMA-SHI, JAPAN
This spa is nestled in the Ise-Shima National Park on the Kii Peninsula, in the south-western region of the island of Honshu. Its name is derived from “aman”, the Sanskrit word for “peace” and “nemu”, the Japanese word for “sharing joy” – and there’s an abundance of both here. The spa takes a holistic approach to wellness and consolidates relaxation, movement and nutrition with various treatments. The natural hot springs nearby feed the spa’s two onsen (thermal spring) bathing pools, supplying mineral-rich water which is known for its healing and relaxing properties. A must-try is watsu therapy, in which a therapist gently cradles, stretches and massages your body in chest-deep warm water.
7. ROSEWOOD, BEIJING, CHINA
The city’s Rosewood Hotel, in the eminent Chaoyang District, has opened its Sense spa with an indulgent accent – balconied suites for overnight stays. After a long flight from SA, this is the finest cure for jetlag, as one can get off the plane and go straight to one’s spa suite. The signature treatment is called Balance, which relieves tiredness and stiff muscles. A steam bath washes away tension, while Mulberry Detoxifying Body Mud removes the toxins associated with travel. This is followed by a one-hour body massage and a one-hour vitamin C eye-renewal treatment.
8. FOUR SEASONS BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
Madonna, who’s renowned for taking her wellness seriously, famously stayed here while she was shooting Evita. The Four Seasons takes its spa equally seriously. The signature treatment, the Porteño Tango (“porteño” meaning “locals”) makes use of music to guide the massage, while Argentinian hot stones, grape oil and mineral salts, plus algae from the southern part of the country, deliver all the antioxidants you need.
This lodge and spa are located in one of the quietest places on earth. The sands, sky and expanse of terrain all around imbue the place with a solitude and tranquillity that can’t be replicated. And despite being in a desert, the spa has plenty of water: the life-giving substance comes from the glacial snow. The massage beds face the Catarpe Valley and red mountains, and the hot stones used in one of the establishment’s speciality massages also come from the surrounding area. A unique facial here uses quinoa as an exfoliation agent and skin-booster. The signature treatment, however, is a red mud wrap made from earth in the nearby valley. Other options include a Finnish sauna, a Turkish bath, a Scottish shower and indoor and outdoor hot tubs.
10. HO’OLA SPA, HONUA KAI RESORT & SPA, HAWAII
This spa, located on idyllic Kaanapali North Beach in Maui, has 300m² of wellness space. The philosophy here is to combine indigenous wild mauka (mountain) and makai (marine) ingredients. The treatments exclusively use Malie Organics, Hawaii’s premier luxury beauty brand. Popular options include the Ala’e Sea Salt Glow, the Revitalising Mango Nectar Package and the Anti-aging Coffee Fruit Renewal Facial. Then there’s the Himalayan Salt Spa, using marine salt hand-mined from 250-million-year-old deposits and the spa endorses Halo Therapy.
This is an edited version of the article titled “The Wellness Factor” by Daniel Scheffler, featured in the August issue of Sawubona. Download here, for free.